Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Home at 45 Maple in Chester Park Built to Serve as a Church

There is a curious but lovely stone home that stands at 45 Maple Avenue in Chester Park in the Village of Pelham.  Though flat-roofed, it has stunning pointed-arch windows reminiscent of a church.  They are reminiscent of a church because the building originally was built to serve as a church.  Indeed, the structure served as a church for a very short time.  Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog will provide a little history about the church building that eventually was converted into this beautiful home.

Home at 45 Maple Avenue in Chester Park, Showing
the Stonework and the Pointed-Arch Windows.
Photograph Taken in 2003 by the Author.  Note:
Click on Image to Enlarge.

Home at 45 Maple Avenue in Chester Park from
a Different Angle.  The Facade Depicted in the
First Photograph Above May Be Seenn on the
Far Right Side in this Photograph Taken in
2003 by the Author.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

More Recent Google Maps "Street View" Image of the Home
at 45 Maple Avenue in Chester Park, Showing Home in
May, 2012.  NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge. 

Early History of the Church of the Covenant, Congregational in Pelhamville

There once stood in Pelhamville a beautiful little church known officially as the "Church of the Covenant, Congregational."  The Church evolved out of "The Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville" (also known as "The Union Sunday School") founded in 1875.  The church itself was organized in 1888.  Informally, the Church of the Covenant, Congregational was known as both the Church of the Covenant and the Congregational Church.  I have written extensively about the little Church of the Covenant, Congregational.  See, e.g.:

Tue., Jan. 20, 2015:  The Precise Location of the Congregational Church as Shown on a Map Published in 1908.

Wed., Nov. 19, 2014:  Rare Early Image of the Congregational Church of North Pelham in the Early 20th Century.

Tue., May 6, 2014:  More on the History of the Congregational Church of North Pelham.

Fri., Apr. 18, 2014:  The Union Sabbath School of Pelhamville.

Fri., Feb. 28, 2014:  Brief History of the Role Churches Played in the Growth of the Pelhams Published in 1926.

Mon., Sep. 21, 2009:  January 1882 Account of the 1881 Christmas Festival Held at the Union Sabbath School in Pelhamville

Mon., Aug. 24, 2009:  1878 Advertisement for Services of The Union Sabbath School Society of Pelhamville.

Tue., Mar. 7, 2006:  The Church of the Covenant of Pelhamville Organized in 1888.

During the Autumn of 1888, twenty-two local residents organized what first was called the "Church of the Covenant of Pelhamville".  Members of the congregation claimed that the church was the first Congregational Church organized in Westchester County, New York.  

The church was a "direct outgrowth" of the Union Sunday School Society organized on August 29, 1875.  The first pastor to serve was the Rev. Henry Randall Waite, a member of the Pelham Manor Protective Club. 

In 1880, the Union Sunday School Society built a tiny frame chapel on Second Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets. An image of a post card depicting that chapel appears immediately below.

Obverse of Undated Real Photo Post Card (RPP) Showing
Source: eBay Auction Listing for the Post Card.

As the post card above demonstrates, the tiny little clapboard structure was a country chapel surrounded by a white picket fence. 

By 1910, the tiny little church was in need of repair and was no longer large enough to serve the congregation.  In connection with a "reorganization" of the church and its affiliated societies, on October 26, 1910 a new pastor, Rev. C. Conal Mackay, was called to the pastorate.  Three weeks later, on November 16, 1910, the congregation authorized the construction of a new church building at a new location:  Lot 34 on the corner of Maple Avenue and Central Avenue in Chester Park, Village of North Pelham.  The site for the new church building was selected by a committee consisting of the new pastor,  D. D. Meinecke, George F. Meinecke, and Rev. Chas Shelton of the Home Missionary Society of New York State.

Rev. Mackay approached the President of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad Company and asked for the donation of stones from the construction of the new railroad through Pelham to serve as the stones with which to build the new church.  By 1913, enough stones had been donated by the railroad that plans and specifications for the construction of the new church were prepared.  See Churches in the Town -- Various DenominationsThe Pelham Sun, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 3, cols. 1-5.

For several years, the congregation lacked the money to build the small church.  Slowly, however, the money was raised to build a church not quite as grand as originally hoped.  By the spring of 1916, the building was sufficiently complete to permit the first worship service.  On June 21, 1916, the congregation held its first service in the new church building.  

According to a brief history of the church published in 1946, the "congregation worshipped there until 1920, at which time the property was sold and the church disbanded."  Thereafter, the structure was converted to a home and has been used as such since.  Research has not yet revealed any photograph of the structure during the brief four-year period it was used as a church.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I grew up in that house and lived there from 1948 to 1967. Great neighborhood to spend your childhood in. Chester Park right across the street, sleigh riding, roller skating, the Good Humor man, 4th of July picnics with an evening movie in the park, just to name a few great things. Oh, and the advantage of none of your friends moving away your entire childhood.

Agnes Touris


Post a Comment

<< Home